Childhood Diseases

Posted by: E. | 2010/11/29


Constipation while potty training

Hi dr
My son is 3 and I''m really battling to potty train him. He is fine during the day, but he still wears a night nappy (always wet in the morning so I can''t get rid of it right now). Now my big problem is his refusal to poop in the toilet - he waits until I put his night nappy on and then he makes a poop. I have tried all the methods in the book, star chart etc. Nothing works. One weekend I''ve even resorted to giving him Glycerin suppositories to force him to go (and then not putting his night nappy on until he''s basically in bed). He simply refused to go, dancing around in distress, holding it in.
I find now he''s getting a little constipated, because he is holding his poop in during the day &  some evenings he doesn''t go in the nappy and he can skip up to 3 days before he has a poop, which then makes it even harder for him to pass the stool. And he literally jumps around to try &  get it out. I''m not sure if this difficulty to pass a stool also makes it difficult for him to go on the toilet?
Is there any type of mild laxative that I can give him to make the stools softer and easier to pass &  also assist with the potty training? I don''t want to give him anything that''s habit-forming.
Any ideas will be welcome. Or am I simply expecting too much from him? Everyone says I should give him time?
Thanks so much!

Expert's Reply



This happens with many little boys of your son's age. It is time to give him a bit of a break from potty training. You have tried everything that is usually recommended without any success. Do not even mention the word 'potty' to your son for the next 2 weeks and let him wear his nappies and continue with his way of passing a stool. Make sure that he has plenty of fruit to eat especially the good summer fruits now available. He must also have plenty of water to drink and eat foods rich in fibre such as brown bread and Weetbix. Avoid cheese and ice cream in his diet.
After a full 2 week break start again. Tell him if he can use the toilet or the potty well for 3 days he will get a reward. Then build up to 4 days and each time he achieves the goal you set add a day for the next reward.I would rather that you did not use any laxatives.Only if he does not improve you can use a stool softener such as Duphalac liquid for a 10 day period.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Want to comment?

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.